The Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival Stinks — and That is a Good Thing

Ric Garrido of the Loyalty Traveler weblog writes about the artichoke festival in Castroville, located in Monterey County, California, which reminded me of an annual event I attended years ago approximately 26 miles northeast: the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which occurs during the last weekend in July. This year, those days are from July 27 through July 29, 2012.
I remember driving alone south on United States highway 101 into Gilroy from the Silicon Valley area — and that familiar pungent odor of my favorite bulb welcomed by my olfactory sense confirmed that I was nearing the self-proclaimed garlic capital of the world long before I reached its borders.
I paid the entrance fee and studied the festive atmosphere, complete with loud music, booths with vendors selling their garlic-laced wares, and plenty of people. I typically eschew crowds, but bizarrely I did not mind them this time — perhaps it was knowing that I was one amongst many fellow garlic aficionados who had entered the closest venue to garlic heaven. I wasted no time in sampling the food offerings.
Sure, there was the typical standard fare: garlic bread, garlic pasta, garlic chicken and garlic seafood. However, there were also items not usually associated with garlic — I sampled the garlic-flavored candy and garlic chocolate and enjoyed them but passed on the garlic beer, as I do not drink alcoholic beverages — but the most memorable item for me was the garlic ice cream.
There is nothing like ice cream on a hot day on the western edge of central California, which can average close to 90° Fahrenheit with low humidity — but what would garlic ice cream be like to experience? How can something that elicits the look of astonishment on the face of anyone to whom I impart actually taste good?
The only way I can describe it is this: upon lifting what could arguably be called a delicacy from the cardboard cup with the ubiquitous white plastic spoon to my mouth, my curiosity was initially dampened by the banal flavor of what appeared to be vanilla. Immediately after shrugging my shoulders in disappointment upon swallowing that first mouthful of the creamy white frozen confection, the garlic kicked in with a welcomed vengeance and enveloped my entire palette.
“Cool!” I thought. I was one “happy camper.”
I spent several hours in the hot July sun, overloading on garlic to the point where I emerged from the festival absolutely reeking of garlic oozing through the pores of my skin. Despite showering in my hotel room later that evening, I will never know if the clients I visited later during that trip were offended by that pungent odor which may have emitted from my body.
Anyway, here are some discussions about the Gilroy Garlic Festival which are currently posted to FlyerTalk:


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